"" Writer's Wanderings: Australia - Melbourne

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Australia - Melbourne

Our last day in Australia was spent exploring Melbourne. Our first visit to Melbourne was back in 2001 on a one-day stay during a cruise from Auckland to Sydney. I remembered it as being a quaint city with lots of older architectural structures that gave it a bit of old world flavor and yet a touch of that adventuresome spirit that seems to pervade the Australian continent. It wasn’t as I remembered. Rarely is something just as you remember it especially after nine years.

There was a lot of new development in amongst the quainter buildings. Some was a real contrast rather than a blending of old and new. The trams however still run on wires stretched along the main thoroughfares. One nice feature is the free tram called the City Circle Tram. It runs in a square that surrounds the center of the city and has now been extended with an arm that reaches the harbor area as well. Free is good and we used the tram to travel around all day.

The free tram doesn’t start operating until 10 a.m. so we walked a bit until we found a place to have breakfast. About the time we were done, the tram had started up and we hopped aboard and rode almost all the way around (about an hour) to get an idea of where we might like to get off and visit. There is a commentary that runs but it is almost impossible to hear once the tram gets crowded.

We made several stops throughout the day—St. Patrick’s Cathedral for one and the Victorian Market which was interesting enough to spend a few hours exploring (think giant flea market and farmers market all in one).

At Harbour Town, we walked through a two story mall area that was mostly outlet stores. A word about the Australian sense of humor: very broad. It shows in their commercials which would never make it past the censors here at home and, as we discovered during our mall walk, their games. It’s hard to see in the picture but this is a game of fishing you can play in the bathroom. They also had one for golfers.

Collins Street was another interesting place to walk through. There are arcades (side alleys) that are full of upscale shops and boutiques. We window-shopped and stopped for a cappuccino in a little sidewalk café.

Dinner was in a restaurant along the waterfront of the Yarra River. We had a meal of mussels in a white wine sauce. We got hooked on mussels prepared in different kinds of broth while we were in France and they seem to be popular in Australia as well.

We watched our last night of Aussie TV. They have a few versions of our programs like Biggest Loser and Deal or No Deal and turned the lights out early so we could be fresh for the morning drive to the airport.

Thankfully, being a Saturday, the traffic was not too bad and we made it to the rental return and airport easily. Just to confuse my body a bit more, we lifted off from the Melbourne airport at 11:30 a.m., Saturday morning and arrived 13 ½ hours later in Los Angeles at 7:30 a.m., Saturday morning. I think it must involve time travel although it looked like a regular jet to me. Of course at our destination, home, it was 10:30 a.m.—still earlier than when we took off from Melbourne.

We arrived home sometime late afternoon, unpacked some, and began the arduous task of trying to adjust back to the time again. Days and nights were actually flipped and now as I write this it is two weeks since we came home and we are just now finally sleeping through the night again. All of which was/is worth the adventure of traveling to Australia. Oh yes, I’d do it all over again.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...